The Wheelock name is reported to derive from the Welsh word "chevel-og", meaning "winding river".
The Wheelock family origins can be traced back to the 12th century (during the reign of Henry II), in the County of Cheshire, England, where the village of Wheelock now stands. Sometime in the late 12th century Roger Mainwaring released to Hugh de Whelok all his claim to the Manor of Whelok. Hugh de Whelok and his offspring later acquired more of the surrounding lands; and thus the village of Wheelock came into being.
In 1459 the Manor of Wheelock passed to the Leversage family (who had married into the Wheelock family).
In 1637, Rev. Ralph Wheelock, a highly educated graduate of Clare Hall in Cambridge, England, emigrated to Massachusetts, with his wife Rebecca, and several children . He was a dissenting preacher, and the motivation to emigrate was no doubt a result of the religious persecution that ran high during this period of England's history.
Rev. Ralph Wheelock was a Puritan, and played an active role in establishing the townships of Dedham and Medfield, Massachusetts. He preached frequently, but never had his own ministry. His ambitions were oriented toward teaching. He was the first headmaster at the first public school in Dedham (which probably was the first public school in the colonies). He was chosen to "take up a collection for Harvard", and thus played a role in raising funds for the first college in America.
It is likely that most people in the United States with the last name of Wheelock are descended from Rev. Ralph. He and his offspring had many children, over the course of many generations. His progeny are many.
But not all Wheelocks in the United States descend from Ralph. There is a line of Wheelocks in South and Central America, many of whom now live in this country . It has been shown that this line descends from somebody other than Rev. Ralph Wheelock. In addition, there is at least one family of Native Americans, Oneidas from upstate New York, now living in other parts of the country, that acquired the Wheelock surname sometime in their history. The exact circumstances of this are not yet known, but research is ongoing.
There are records of an Abraham Wheelock emigrating from London to Virginia in late 1673 on the ship Martha. There is another record of an Abraham Wheelock emigrating from London to Virginia in 1677 on the Good Hope. It is not clear from these records whether or not this was the same person (the first trip may have been canceled, or forced to turn back), or whether this person ever arrived in Virginia.
It may be that Abraham established a line of Wheelocks in this country, but none to date has been identified in the genealogy presented here.
The Wheelocks were at the forefront of territorial expansion in America. They continuously moved west, settling new lands and founding new towns. Some of these towns include Dedham, Mass., Medfield, Mass., Mendon, Mass., Charlton, Mass., Calais, Vt., Wheelock, Texas, and Lubbock, Texas. Undoubtedly, there were others. Eleazer Wheelock, great grandson of Rev. Ralph Wheelock, founded Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, thus perpetuating the teaching tradition so close to the heart of Ralph. Though it has not yet been firmly established, it is likely that Lucy Wheelock, founder of Wheelock College in Boston, Mass. was also a descendant of Rev. Ralph Wheelock.
This previous information was gathered from the web site researched and created by Rick Sullivan. More detail on Wheelock family History can be found there. Please follow the link to his web page. http://www.wheelockgenealogy.com/